Nothing has been carved in stone yet, but I'm looking at the last Saturday in April for our Spring tour. Stay tuned and check our Face Book page -- Ghost Town Trails Tour --for the official announcement and tour details!
The tour begins at 10:00 AM at the Cochise Hotel, in Cochise, Arizona.
The Cochise Hotel is the oldest hotel in the state of Arizona that is still in operation. It is also on the National Register of Historic Places.
Cochise began as a railroad camp in the 1880s, when the Southern Pacific was laying tracks from Willcox to Tucson. Once the tracks were laid, Cochise became an important water and coal stop for the railroad.
In its heyday, Cochise boasted a population of 3,000 citizens.
The Methodist Church built a church in Cochise in May, 1911. To raise the $400 needed to build the structure, the Ladies Aid Society held fund raising events, including a Saturday picnic at the nearby settlement of Servoss. The fund raising was successful and the church was built.
The church building burnt years later, but was rebuilt and dedicated in 1942.
The Cochise Church seats about 50 people, and is available for weddings, meetings and other events.
The Pearce Cemetery has been in use since 1887, and is still in use today.
One of the "residents" is a Civil War Veteran, Sgt. George Hart Platt, who served as Lincoln's Bodyguard.
Another famous resident of the Pearce Cemetery is Antonio Palma Sr 1883-1927. Antonio was a champion driller for the Commonwealth Mine in Pearce. This was proved during a competition in 1920. The rock he drilled sits at the entrance to the cemetery.
The Pearce Cemetery sits on 40 acres, just west of Pearce.
The Pearce Jail was constructed in 1915 at a cost of about $600.00.The two-room jail is made of concrete poured over rebar. The 10 inch thick walls and ceiling, along with its heavy iron doors, made sure that the "guests" were well secured. There were a few windows in each of the two cells, which were divided by a solid wall of concrete. The windows were mere slits--about six inches tall and 12 inches wide--with one inch iron bars spaced about every two inches. Each cell also had a toilet and sink and most likely, a wood burning stove stood in the center of each cell.
The jail was used up until about 1938. It stood empty for many years, the property it sat on exchanged hands several times, and it became someone's storage room.
Eventually, the land that the jail sat on was donated to the Old Pearce Preservation Association, but not the one and only key that opened both cell doors.
In 2015, expert locksmiths were called upon, and took up the challenge of making a new key. In August 2015, the Pearce Jail was reopened for the first time in many years, and the process of cleaning it out began.
Courtland was established as a copper mining town in 1909, with the dedication of land from the Great Western Copper Company. The town is named after Courtland Young, one of the mine's owners.
At its peak, there were 2,000 residents living and working in the three sections of town; North Courtland, Center Courtland, and South Courtland.
Courtland had everything that a big city offered. Two railroads, a car dealership, movie theater, restaurants, saloons, hotels, hair salons and barbershops, a weekly newspaper, jail, and a school.
About the only things Courtland did not have were a town hall, hospital, fire department, or church. Church services were held at the school.
Eventually, the mines played out, able bodied men were drafted to serve in WWI, and the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918/1919 took a lot of lives. By 1920, Courtland was well on its way to becoming a ghost town.
The Gleeson Jail was built in 1910, by the same company that built the Courtland Jail, and is an exact duplicate. The original Gleeson Jail was a large oak tree, which still stands behind Bono's store today. A thick cable was secured around the tree's trunk, and prisoners were then chained to the cable. The second Gleeson Jail was a wood shack with a tin roof that stood in front of the current jail. It was an improvement over being chained to the tree, but ambitious prisoners could push the tin roof up and make their escape. Today, the Gleeson Jail is a wonderful museum filled with newspaper articles, photos and memorabilia of Gleeson's days as a mining boom town.
I do this because I love to share the history of the area. All I ask is that you leave a donation at each stop, as they are privately owned. If you want to throw a couple of bucks my way, I won't refuse. It helps to cover the cost of printed materials given out for the tour.
This 5.5 x 8.5" book is 12 pages, and gives a little history about each stop we make on our Ghost Town Trails Tour. Price includes tax and shipping if mailed within the USA. Proceeds go toward printing costs, and further research of our beloved ghost towns.